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[AT] New “semi-floating” gate makes for fast, low-power circuitry

post #1 of 5
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After a long period during which the emphasis had been on building ever-faster computer circuits, things have shifted toward making them more energy-efficient. Some efficiency gains have come through small tweaks to the layout of the individual components, but most of the efficiency was a product of changes to the manufacturing process: new materials and ever-smaller features. Unfortunately, we're getting close to the point where shrinking the features of circuits any further will cause the inherent noise of quantum mechanics to start interfering with the chip's operations.

But that doesn't mean an end to potential improvements. A team of Chinese researchers have now described a new structure for the individual gates that control the flow of electrons within chips. Their design, which they're calling a semi-floating gate, switches states in as little as a nanosecond, and it requires very little power to operate.
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The end result is a device that can store its state, much like flash, but switches much more quickly. Changing between the on and off states took only 1.3 nanoseconds. All the switching also took place within a range of 3V and required very little current: less than one micro-Amp. The device was also very stable. Even after 10^12 cycles of writing and erasing, it retained about 90 percent of its original performance. The researchers estimate it would still work out to 10^15 cycles, which handily beats floating gate performance.

Source
Edited by xxlap1xx - 8/12/13 at 9:26am
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post #2 of 5
the quote makes this product look terrible. It is not 1012 cycles, it is 10 to the power of 12, a vastly different number. I was about to ask how this could ever be useful in a computer with such low cycle life, but 100 billion cycles is much more reasonable.
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post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
^ Edited

Thanks for the heads up!
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post #4 of 5
They probably came up with this idea in the bathroom....floating...hehehe
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post #5 of 5
Very interesting to see things improving, as it always is.
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